Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis has suggested a “black out” of live television coverage of Makos home games could see provincial rugby return to the days of bumper crowds.
Lewis suggested, “off the top of his head” during a radio interview that games should not be shown live on television in the region that match is being played, in an effort to get more people to attend the matches.
“I was asked by Tony Veitch about some initiatives to draw punters, and I thought about the system they have in Australia with the cricket and thought it could be introduced here.”
Channel 9 in Australia does not broadcast international cricket live into the city it is being played in, unless the game is a sell out.
Crowd numbers for all Makos games, like the rest of the provincial rugby competition, have been down in Nelson and Blenheim this year, with only the fixture against Southland unaffected by rain.
“The reality is that all of our games have been weather-affected and I think that’s hurt our crowd numbers.”
Tony suggested that not having the game live on television in Nelson would encourage people to get to the game with minimal impact to sponsors or broadcasters.
“You’d still get to see the game but it would be on a two hour delay.”
Tony says trying to find innovative and fun ways to get people to go to games was always challenging, especially in the current rugby market.
“Super Rugby runs longer, the All Blacks are playing more tests and then the Mitre 10 Cup starts,” Tony says. “People only have so much money to go around.”
Sky Television has the rights to show all Mitre 10 Cup games live under the current broadcast agreement.